6 tips for blogging to veterinary clients
Editor's note: This is the seventh article in a 12-article series.
One of the best way to keep your practice’s website fresh—and keep clients coming back to it—is by blogging. The term blog is short for “web log,” and some people refer to blogs as online journals. Blogs are relatively easy to create and update, can be attached to your main website, and, best of all, they’re free.
How does this relate to social media? Blogs, like social media, are another tool that drives traffic to your website. If you’ve been engaging clients in conversations via Twitter and Facebook, you’re already getting comfortable with blogging. To really get going, just expand on the topics you’ve been talking about by writing short educational articles. Tell people about your client-education blog posts via Twitter and Facebook and add a link to your new post. There you have it—you’ve redirected your social media contacts to your clinic’s website and, hopefully, to your clinic’s front door.
Before you start anything, you need to know the rules, right? Well, with blogging, there are no rules. You can write about virtually anything. Of course, you should keep your content professional and write with a voice that reflects your practice’s philosophy and values. You should also plan to write on a consistent basis, whether weekly, every other week, or even monthly. Now, while there are no rules, there are some best practices. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:
• After you’ve created your blog—visit sites like wordpress.org and blogger.com to get started—ask your professional Web host or designer to attach it to your practice’s website. This should only take a few hours.
• Keep your posts short—ideally less than 600 words—and to the point. Bullet points work well.
• Photos work well within posts. Readers tend to appreciate the visuals in addition to text.
• Start by blogging about information from your clinic’s educational handouts, if you’re not sure where to begin.
• Make it personal. Clients love to hear about what’s new with the doctors and staff—professionally, not personally. A great way to do this is to add posts about new continuing education accomplished by staff members or to blog about practice happenings through the viewpoint of the resident clinic cat, for example.
• Plan your blog topics in advance and plot them on a calendar. You’ll find that you’ll have a flurry of ideas and then a period where you can think of nothing to write about. The calendar ensures you survive the dry spells.
Feel like you don’t have the time to blog? Do it as a group project. Ask specific doctors and team members to write one post each month on a topic of their choice. You can be the editor who keeps all the submissions organized and posted on a regular basis.
Brenda Tassava, CVPM, CVJ, is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and author of "Social Media for Veterinary Professionals." She's been a social media enthusiast since her teenage daughter introduced her to Facebook in late 2008. Tassava quickly saw the enormous potential and began learning all she could about the social media world. Today, she manages multiple Twitter and Facebook fan pages, including those for Broad Ripple Animal Clinic and Wellness Center, Bark Tutor School for Dogs, and Canine Colors. She also volunteers her time to assist in managing the VHMA and CVPM Facebook Fan pages. She will present on social media at the 2011 CVC in San Diego.
Also in this series